5 Exciting and Educational Travel Destinations For Martial Artists

0 Posted by - August 10, 2023 - Training, Travel, Wisdom
martial arts travel in action. a man does a headstand in martial arts gear, looking over a valley below.

Travel and martial arts are both excellent ways to open your mind and learn more about yourself and the world around you. So why not combine the two for a truly life-changing experience? 

Whether you want to plan a whole trip dedicated to martial arts, or add a single day excursion to pre-existing plans, there’s a martial arts-based vacation for almost every age, discipline, experience level, travelling style, and budget. There are options for every energy level, too. 

You can throw your gear in the back of your car when you’re camping and going on a road trip and seeing if any local gyms have open mats while you’re there, or you can plan a whole trip around visiting the birthplace of your martial art. You can meticulously plan every detail yourself, check out things on the fly while you’re traveling, or book a travel package from a company dedicated to martial arts travel.

If you prefer hands-on learning, you can train regularly throughout your trip — and even participate in a local competition in some cases! If you prefer to learn through observation, you can visit important locals and attend tournaments as a spectator instead. 

The possibilities are almost endless. And if you’re interested in martial arts travel, we encourage you to look into all of your options to make sure you book the right trip for you and your goals. But here are five great destinations to get you started: 


It’s one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and the birthplace of variations of martial arts that have transformed modern combat sports — and another martial art that’s had an amazing influence on fight choreography. Visit Rio and you can take in a mix of stunning beaches and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. Head south and inland a bit and you can go to Curitiba to see the legendary Chute Boxe gym that developed the style of Muay Thai for MMA that made legends like Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua so powerful in Pride and UFC.

And while you’re in the country, you can always take some time to learn more about Capoeira and the Afro-Brazilian martial art’s rich history and cool techniques. 

Here’s former Bellator MMA champ talking about the importance of training in Brazil at least once:


As more Shaolin training facilities have started to open their doors to foreign students, the idea of going to China to learn Wushu among Shaolin monks has gone from something you might see in a movie to something you can actually do yourself. Most of these programs are pretty serious, so you might want to look elsewhere if you only have a week or two and moderate energy to spare.

But if you have at least a month’s worth of free time and funding and you really want to give it your all, you can fully immerse yourself in the Shaolin training experience. Many training facilities even have comprehensive English websites to help you plan your trip and know exactly what you’ll be doing while you’re there. And if that’s still too confusing, pre-planned packages are available through some travel companies. 


Martial arts tourist attractions and tours are such a big deal in Japan that budo is actually a key component of the government’s plans to boost the county’s tourism numbers since reopening its borders. You can do your part to help Japan’s recovery by travelling there to study martial arts and combat sports like Karate, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and Sumo. You can ever practice traditional Okinawan martial arts in Okinawa Prefecture. There are a number of tourism companies that offer package tours to suit almost every interest and ability level, ranging from intensive training excursions to gentle classes and viewing experiences.

And if none of those are right for you, you can always build your own. A lot of Japanese dojos have websites with sections dedicated to foreign tourists, helpfully letting you know everything from what their drop-in options are to suggestions on how to deal with the language barrier in classes. 


Travelling to Thailand to train in the birthplace of Muay Thai is a common dream among people who train in the art of eight limbs around the world. But you don’t have to be a seasoned fighter to benefit from a Muay Thai trip. There are travel options available for almost every level of interest, dedication, and budget. Serious martial artists who are travelling to expand their knowledge and skillset can book an intense and immersive all-inclusive camp that includes lodging, food, and training for a month or more. Shorter and more gentle packages are also available for beginners and others with more modest training goals.

For tourists who are interested in trying Muay Thai, but don’t want to plan their whole vacation around it, many gyms offer drop-in classes. Some high-end hotels with gyms also allow you to hire trainers for one-on-one sessions in their facilities. And if you’re curious about Muay Thai but not sure that you want to step into the ring yourself, you could dip your toe into that world by attending a live fight. 


You don’t have to travel abroad to have a martial arts-influenced vacation, though. There are plenty of places in the USA that offer their own rich history lessons and state of the art training in a wide range of martial arts and combat sports. 

Road trip along the coast in California and check out some of the world’s best MMA and BJJ camps. Fly into Las Vegas to take a different kind of gamble: seeing how you stack up against some of the best MMA fighters and boxers in the country at your pick of world-class facilities. (If you’re a pro fighter, you might be able to spend some time at the UFC Performance Institute, too. Unfortunately, it’s not open to the public.) Maybe even stay at a fancy strip casino and hire a personal trainer to give you a boxing lesson. 

Or visit AWMA’s hometown of Philadelphia for some boxing and some Rocky-esque stair running